How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Minnesota (2020 Guide)

George Simons

June 05, 2020

Summary: Live in Minnesota and need help responding to a debt collection lawsuit? SoloSuit guides Minnesota residents through the process, step-by-step. Also, isn't that such a cute dog?

Minnesota is a unique state when it comes to debt collection litigation. What makes it unique? Well, a lawsuit can be initiated simply by a debt collector serving a summons and complaint form on a defendant. There is no legal requirement for a debt collector to file any type of formal document in a district court before serving someone with a lawsuit. This means when you are served with the Summons and Complaint, there is a good chance you will not see an actual case number. In fact, a court will not have any record of the debt collector's lawsuit unless and until the debt collector files a copy of the lawsuit and pays the filing fee.

If you have been served with a Summons and Complaint for an alleged debt in Minnesota, do not give up hope or assume that the allegations contained within the Complaint are accurate. It is important to remember that you have legal rights, including the right to contest the allegations in the Complaint. SoloSuit can help. We have compiled important information to help simplify debt collection lawsuits so you know what to expect.

Below, you will find helpful information on what needs to be done to properly respond to a Summons and Complaint for debt collection in Minnesota. The information in this guide is tailored to debt collection lawsuits in Minnesota.

(What are the biggest debt collection companies in the United States? Find out here.)

Minnesota Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

20 days - You only have 20 days (less than three weeks) to file an Answer with the court after you are served the Summons and Complaint. If you fail to file an Answer within 20 days, you are essentially raising the white flag of defeat and the court will likely enter an adverse judgment against you. Once the debt collector has that judgment, they are then empowered to garnish your wages and your bank account.

Lookout for a Discovery Request

If you are served with a summons and complaint form in Minnesota, it is important to thoroughly examine both documents and anything else included with the service of process. Why? Because there are instances where a debt collection company will include discovery requests with the Summons and Complaint. As a result, you need to provide an Answer to the Complaint and respond to the discovery requests. The term “discovery request” is a legal term that basically means a request for an answer to a specific question or for a particular document be produced.

It is extremely important to respond to the discovery requests. If you file an Answer to the Complaint, but fail to respond to the discovery requests, the lack of a response could irrevocably harm the viability of your defense. For example, if the debt collection company sends you a set of “Requests for Admission” and you fail to respond within 30 days, those requests are considered to be “admitted” under the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. In effect, you would be admitting to the debt collection company's version of events. This is why it is important to timely respond to the discovery requests. You need to make sure your side of the story is told and the court gets a chance to examine both sides.

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Minnesota Answer to Summons Forms

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection Summons in Minnesota. Nevertheless, if you want to do it on your own, you can use this form from the courts:

Answer Form - This is Minnesota's general answer form for civil lawsuits such as debt collection cases. Use it to respond to a debt collection Summons and Complaint.

(How long does it take for a debt collector to respond to a debt validation letter? Get the answer here.)

Answer Filing Fees for Minnesota

Pursuant to Minnesota debt collection laws, there is a fee associated with filing your Answer and the Affidavit of Service. The amount of the filing fee depends on the county in which you reside. Though, in the majority of counties in Minnesota, the filing fee for an Answer to a Complaint is $75. It is also important to note that if you are unable to pay the filing fee, you have the option to request a fee waiver. To secure a fee waiver, you need to fill out an application form and submit a copy to the court for consideration.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Minnesota

When you are sued by a debt collector, it is extremely important to be proactive and get to work formulating a response. Ignoring the Summons and Complaint is not recommended since it just means the Plaintiff will receive a default judgment against you. If that happens, the debt collection company will be empowered to garnish your wages and take other legal actions against you.

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond the right way.

1. Create an Answer Document.

While drafting your Answer to a Complaint, you need to make sure your Answer is formatted in a similar manner to the Complaint itself. To make the process easier, there is a fillable form you can use as a template. In either instance, make sure to complete the caption at the top of the document. This is where the name of the county and judicial district need to be listed. Your name and the name of the plaintiff should appear at the top as well.

SoloSuit helps you gather the information you need.

2. Respond to Each Allegation in the Complaint.

You need to make sure your Answer responds to each allegation contained within the Complaint. Each paragraph in your Answer should correspond with each numbered paragraph contained within the Complaint. In most instances, there are three responses you can provide to each allegation the Complaint:

  • Admit the allegation;
  • Deny the allegation; and
  • Deny the allegation based on an insufficient amount of information.

SoloSuit helps you respond appropriately.

3. Determine Whether You Can Assert an Affirmative Defense.

There are certain affirmative defenses you can raise to challenge the validity or viability of the debt collector's lawsuit. Here are some examples:

  • Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Bring Suit. Lack of standing is a powerful defense. You can raise it when the debt collector has no legal basis for filing the lawsuit (i.e. there is no clear ownership of the debt or legal assignment of a debt to a debt collector). This is a fairly common defense in debt collection cases, especially when the debt has been sold and resold to multiple debt collectors.
  • Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief May be Granted. You can raise this defense if the plaintiff failed to cite a statute or the complaint failed to state sufficient facts to constitute a viable cause of action.
  • Plaintiff Filed Suit After the Expiration of the Statute of Limitations.You can assert that the debt collector failed to file the lawsuit within the applicable statutory time period. As a result, the lawsuit could be barred from moving forward.

SoloSuit helps you bring up all of the defenses that apply.

4. File the answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Once you have completed your Answer, serve one copy to the debt collection company. Make sure you fill out a sworn statement (i.e. affidavit of service) to substantiate when you served the Answer. You should have a second copy of the Answer ready for when the debt collection company formally files suit with a court.

SoloSuit files the Answer for you.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

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Statute of Limitations on Debt in Minnesota

In Minnesota, there is a statutory limitation placed on the amount of time in which someone can attempt to collect on an alleged outstanding debt. This time limit is known as the Minnesota debt collection “statute of limitations.” If a debt collection company attempts to collect an old debt from you that falls outside the applicable statute of limitations, you may be able to get the lawsuit thrown out of court.

Under Minnesota law, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for money owed due to a breach of contract is six years. This means that a creditor or debt collection company can only file a lawsuit against you within six years from the date of your last purchase or last payment, whichever was later. If, on the other hand, a debt collector waits too long and attempts to file a lawsuit after six years and six months have elapsed, you can raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense and have the case thrown out of court.

Missouri Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Oral

6

Written

6

Mortgage

6

Open

6

Credit Card

6

Judgment

10


Source: Findlaw



If you need help defending yourself in a debt collection lawsuit in Delaware, there are organizations offering assistance at little-to-no-cost to Delaware residents. These organizations include:

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
111 North Fifth Street
Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Legal Services Advocacy Project
2324 University Avenue West
Suite 101
Midtown Commons
St. Paul, MN 55114

SoloSuit helps you make the right defense the right way.

If you need assistance on how to best respond to a debt collection lawsuit, consider utilizing SoloSuit. What is SoloSuit? Take a moment to review these FAQs to learn more.

(How to stop receiving calls from Covington Credit)

Minnesota Court Locations

There are ten judicial districts in Minnesota. Each district contains multiple trial courts comprising one or more of Minnesota's 87 different counties. The district courts are categorized as follows:

  • First Judicial District – Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott, Sibley
  • Second Judicial District – Ramsey
  • Third Judicial District – Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Winona
  • Fourth Judicial District – Hennepin
  • Fifth Judicial District – Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Watonwan
  • Sixth Judicial District – Carlton, Cook, Lake, St. Louis
  • Seventh Judicial District – Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, Wadena
  • Eighth Judicial District – Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine
  • Ninth Judicial District – Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau
  • Tenth Judicial District – Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, Wright

Key Takeaways

In summation, here is what you need to do in order to properly respond to a Summons and Complaint for debt collection in Minnesota.

Deadline: 20 days to file an Answer.

Remember these tips:

  • Make sure to thoroughly review the Summons and Complaint to determine if the Plaintiff included any Discovery Requests.
  • Be prepared to pay a filing fee and the amount of the fee depends on the county in which you reside.
  • If you are contesting the alleged amount owed in the Complaint, make sure to appear in court on the date and time provided.
  • Conduct research to assess whether any affirmative defenses can be asserted to challenge the Plaintiff's lawsuit.

Best of Luck!

Additional Resources

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit.

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.